Until a person needs the services of local emergency crews — firefighters, medically-trained responders and rescue personnel, as well as law enforcement officials for that matter — we take for granted that they will always be there as soon as the tones are dispatched on their pagers.
As part of the extended emergency services family — my husband is a firefighter and first responder, and I’m in our department’s auxiliary — as well as through my work at the newspaper, I am frequently on the scenes of fires, wrecks and other incidents that require emergency personnel to respond.
I’ve done stories in the past when someone who is in one of those roles ends up on the receiving end of services as well. When those pagers go off, the first thing you think is “please don’t let it be someone I know, especially not family.”
Well just more than two weeks ago, my family was on the receiving end of medical services. And when my neighbor came banging on my front door while I was showering and Little Man was napping, I knew something was wrong as soon as I opened the door and saw her face.
“Johnnie has fallen and they are taking him to the hospital,” she said.
My heart stopped.
My husband was getting on a roof to blow the leaves off so he could clean a yard where he works regularly, and as he stepped on the roof the ladder slid out from under him and he fell nearly 9 feet to the concrete driveway below.
He landed on his feet causing a compression fracture of a vertebrae, and then fell to the left causing a break to his left wrist.
His father heard him yell, and called 911.
The Surry County EMS staff and Shift Supervisor David Speight were wonderful. My husband said they were on the scene in no time, and had him in the ambulance and en route to the hospital quickly once they assessed his injuries.
Along with two paramedics, there was another medically-trained person on the ambulance, who my husband said put the IV in his arm while the ambulance was moving, and he did such a good job the needle was never felt.
The bumps in the road were hurting his back so bad from his injuries the paramedics were kind enough to slow down and creep over the railroad tracks as they approached the hospital.
Now, two weeks later, my husband has two metal plates in his left wrist with a cast coming next week and physical therapy later, and will be wearing a back brace that the doctor says looks like body armor for the next three months.
But we are thankful he wasn’t hurt any worse, and we are thankful and very appreciative of the help from the emergency services personnel who assisted as well as the staff at the hospitals and doctors’ offices we’ve been to throughout this stressful ordeal.
We really are lucky that in Surry County we have great people who help take care of us on a daily basis and in emergency situations.
Wendy Byerly Wood is the associate editor of The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 719-1923.